There was an article relevant to the Toronto SOD antibody research in this week's Philadelphia Inquirer (we are not just chewing cheese steaks down here). I sent the following to the ALS organization. I have only recently resumed following ALS research news, so my apologies if this is already well-known to you-all, and also for the length:
Dear ALS Association,
Your membership may be interested in the recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer reporting on a recent research paper from the laboratory of Drs. Trojanowski and Lee (published recently in Annals of Neurology--citations provided below).
The highly-regarded neuroscientists run the Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases at the Univ of Penn in Philadelphia. They argue that, based on their observations of differences between the pathology of sporadic vs. familial (SOD1) ALS, that current therapies, clinical trials, and research efforst may be misdirected. That is, they argue that the SOD1 type, upon which so much drug development is directed, may be a fundamentally different disease from the much more common, sporadic type of ALS.
The Trojanowski-Lee (Univ of Penn) research findings and (most importantly) their sweeping interpretation of it, are particularly newsworthy items for anyone involved with ALS.
(As an aside, my own view as a neurologist and drug-developer is that there is so much clinical similarity among the the types of ALS that, despite theoretical difference among the types, they must at least share a final common pathway. It is this shared, final common pathway that qualifies all the various types as "ALS." Any therapy aimed at the final common pathway may be valuable, irrespective of the differences among the types.
Because we do not know what the Trojanowski-Lee findings mean (basically they just see a spot--an accummulation of a protein--in the neurons of the common type of ALS but not in the relatively uncommon SOD type), one cannot conclude that a potential therapy will work or not. Their generalization seems too speculative to warrant the implication that prior research may have been misdirected. But I defer to the real ALS experts to put the Trojanowski-Lee paper into context.)
For the publication of the Trojanowski-Lee ALS research, see Annals of Neurology, Vol 61, p. 427-434, No. 5, May 2007, Mackenzie I.R.A., et al., Pathological TDP-43 Distinguishes Sporadic ALS from ALS with SOD1 Mutations